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Colorado group says it has enough signatures for abortion rights ballot measure this fall

Possible abortion ballot measure in Colorado
Colorado organizers say they have enough signatures for abortion rights ballot measure 03:47

A Colorado campaign that's trying to enshrine abortion rights into the state's constitution has gathered enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot this November, CBS News has learned. 

To amend Colorado's constitution, petitioners must gather 124,238 signatures from the state's voters, including 2% of the total registered voters in each of Colorado's 35 Senate districts, according to the secretary of state's office.

Coloradans for Protecting Reproductive Freedom said its volunteers gathered more than 225,000 signatures and met the district requirements, as well. The deadline to turn the signatures in is April 18. A person familiar with the operation told CBS News that the group expects challenges from opposition groups on the validity of the signatures.

The announcement underscores the ongoing push to put abortion on the ballot at the state level after the Supreme Court ended federal abortion protections with the Dobbs v. Jackson decision, which struck down the landmark decision Roe v. Wade. 

Last week, the Florida Supreme Court cleared the way for an abortion rights constitutional amendment to appear on the ballot this fall, and Arizona organizers also announced that they've surpassed the signature threshold for a ballot measure. 

Similar efforts are underway in multiple other states.

Abortion is currently legal in Colorado, but the constitutional amendment would prevent the government from taking away the right and override a 1984 measure that prohibits health insurance from covering abortion care for "public employees and people on public insurance."

Jess Grennan, campaign director of Coloradans for Protecting Reproductive Freedom, said in a statement that the recent decision by the Arizona Supreme Court to allow an 1864 law that would ban most abortions to go into effect "ultimately exposed just how vulnerable every state is, and will remain, without passing legislation that constitutionally secures the right to abortion."

"Ballot measures like Proposition 89 are our first line of defense against government overreach and our best tool to protect the freedom to make personal, private healthcare decisions—a right that should never depend on the source of one's health insurance or who is in office, because a right without access is a right in name only," Grennan said.

The amendment would need a supermajority of 55% support from voters to pass, according to the Colorado secretary of state's office.

Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, abortion rights measures have seen success in every state where they've been placed on the ballot — even in more conservative states like Kansas and Ohio.

There is also a separate movement in Colorado for a ballot measure that would define a child as "any living human being from the moment human life biologically begins at conception through every stage of biological development until the child reaches emancipation as an adult" and would prohibit harm to such — effectively banning nearly all abortions.

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